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Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen Hardcover – October 23, 2001
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"Italian-American food--what cuisine is it?" asks Lidia Matticchio Bastianich in Lidia's Italian-American Cooking, a cookbook based on her eponymous PBS TV series. The author of two previous works, La Cucina di Lidia and Lidia's Italian Table, and co-owner of three acclaimed Manhattan restaurants, Bastianich is ideally suited to explore all Italian fare. "Americans fell in love with Italian cooking first," she says, thus enshrining a cuisine born of immigrant adaptation. In celebration of that affection, the book offers over 150 recipes for a wide range of dishes--traditional favorites like Baked Stuffed Shells and Lobster Fra Diavolo as well as personal adaptations such as Scampi alla Buonavia and canneloni made with roasted pork and mortadella. These easily done dishes benefit from Lidia's subtle polishing; fans of her foolproof palate and her direct yet relaxed approach to Italian cooking will welcome the book.
In chapters that reflect the courses of a traditional Italian meal, from antipasti through soups, pasta and risottos, and dolci, Lidia presents a wealth of good everyday eating. In addition to exemplary renditions of Italian-American favorites, Lidia offers "new" Italian regional dishes, such as Long Fusilli with Saffron, Mussels, and Zucchini. Soups, a Lidia specialty, are enticingly represented with the likes of Potato, Swiss Chard, and Bread Soup. And of course there are splendid dolci--favorites like Ricotta Cheesecake, but also treats like San Martino Pear and Chocolate Tart. Throughout, Bastianich provides useful sidebars, such as one on scallopine, and fully illustrated technical instruction, detailing, for example, the best way to stuff a veal chop. With color photos of the mouthwatering dishes, tips, and other cooking insights, the book is a valuable guide to an oft-debased fare finally given its due. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Despite a misleading title (the book offers few stereotypical restaurant-style dishes), readers will be slightly charmed by the book's actual contents (mainly recipes for straight Italian classics) and its author that they'll quickly forget any disappointment. Bastianich (La Cucina di Lidia), owner of several restaurants, is simultaneously a beguiling storyteller and a no-nonsense guide. Alongside classics like Tri-Color Salad with Arugula and Radicchio and a more unusual Salad of Dandelion Greens with Almond Vinaigrette and Dried Ricotta, Bastianich provides sidebars on beans, capers and many other ingredients. She also waxes personal: a native of Istria, the region given to Yugoslavia after WWII, she emigrated in 1958 and opened her first restaurant in 1971 at age 24. The stars here, though, are the recipes. Pasta dishes such as Cavatelli with Bread Crumbs, Pancetta, and Cauliflower, and Orecchiette with Braised Artichokes, make fine use of fresh vegetables. Recipes are divided into antipasto, soups, pasta and risotto, pizza, entres, side dishes and desserts. Desserts include a San Martino Pear and Chocolate Tart and a rich Chocolate Soup from Udine. Bastianich includes restaurant-style Italian-American food such as Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Lobster fra Diavolo with Spaghettini, although she can't resist reducing the latter's sauce to more "Italian" proportions. Color and b&w photos. (Nov. 12)Forecasts: This companion to a PBS series has a built-in readership, not to mention Bastianich's following from her New York, Kansas City and Pittsburgh restaurants. Expect strong sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
number of dishes that I thought were secret family recipes. Not so fast young man, come to find out
they are from Lidia's book. I bought it and have only made one meal so far, but can't wait to make more
Some of the easiest recipes are the best tasting , but then that's what good food is all about. Well worth the money. Easy to read and understand directions. Since my grandmother passed our family lost a lot of her Italian dishes because she had them memorized and not written down. Lydia has given me those traditional Italian dishes again. What a treasure! Combine the book with her videos and you'll be cooking Italian as good as Lydia herself. I highly recommend this book for those who love Italian.
I actually bought 2 books and gave one to my son as i saw you cooking with
your son on pbs. I can cook with your book because i love your choices and the
simple earthy way you put your selections together. I really am using your book
for my husband and I. Today we are traveling to see my father inlaw, i am cooking
and we are taking dinner with us to deliver.We will dress up and serve.
I designed a dress from a vintage curtain and won a hat challenge, i will wear my dress
and hat, my husband will wear a long tail tux.
My husband helped me select and do the shopping
Braised Pork Chops with savory Cabbage
Tangy skillet turnips and potatoes.
Blood orange and red onion salad
Yummy !Thank You Lidia !
One of Lidia's basic concepts is that cooking be an inspiring experience and that you enjoy what you are doing and appreciate the simple ingredients that make delicious meals. I have found that after following several recipes, I have become a better, more thoughtful cook, no matter what I'm making. And that is what she truly wants (I met her at a booksigning a year ago and had the honor of speaking with her about this).
One suggestion: Purchase one of those plexi-glass cookbook holder/protectors, because trust me - you will be using this quite a lot.